Just a few thoughts (I'd be more verbose, but I'm buried in work):
>This claim is untenable. I ask you to produce one document that came
>>from the proper ecclesiatical authorities, be it in a papal bull or
>>other official pronouncement of the Roman Catholic Church, that
>>Bible to be read.
>Well, the proper authorities burned people at the stake for possessing
>bibles in the late 1100s and early 1200s in places like Cambrai and
>Strasbourg (where the bishop burned eighty Waldenses at the stake in
>They confiscated vernacular Bibles in Metz (1199) and at Trier (1231).
>council of Beziers restricted even Latin bibles to the clergy alone
>and across the border, the king of Aragon burned layfolk with Spanish
>bibles burned at the stake that same year, with full approval of the
>clergy. (See G. C. Coulton's book on the Inquisition and Henry Charles
>Lea's History of the Inquisition, II, 316)
As to burning folks at the stake for possession of vernacular bibles,
your comment is a bit misleading. The folks who were burned (by secular
authorities, of course--the ecclesiastical authorities never had the
power to burn people at the stake), were usually burned because they were
determined to be heretics. Now as to why they were considered heretics
is a whole 'nother can of worms (especially when dealing with the
Waldensians, Little Fransiscans or the Brethren of the Free Spirit). At
any rate, in most cases, the bibles they had were very poorly done
specimens, filled with innaccuracies or altered passages (at least in
terms of comparison to the Vulgate, which was still the standard latin
text). If you think about it, the percentage of heretics who could
adequately translate Latin to a vernacular, and had the the time and
resources to do so must have been rather small.
As to your other points, I think that the contrast between what was
practised versus what the official doctrines were is a fascinating topic.
I would be very skeptical, however of "pagan" rituals which could be
traced to actual pagan times knowingly being practiced. You might find
similarities, but that's it (sounds like our author versus origin
At any rate, here's some interesting reading:
"The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Power and Deviance in Western
Europe,950-1250 " by R.I. Moore (New York: Basil Blackwell, Ltd., 1987)
"The Inquisition and Society in Spain in the 16th and 17th Centuries", by
Henry Kamen (Indiana University Press, 1985).
"Night battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the 16th and 17th
Centuries" by Carlo Ginzburg (Penguin Books reprint, 1986)
And with reservations, "Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error" by
Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie (New York: Vintage Books, 1979).
Finally, if anyone wants a really intriguing read, try to find "The
Inquisitor's Manual" by Bernard Gui (1322). I've found passages in
English and there's a French version out there, but it is an almost
sinister document in explaining how an Inquisitor could paint some poor
schlep into a corner from which they could not escape.
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